Sucheta Dalal :Missing Dak
Sucheta Dalal

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Missing Dak  

October 21, 2009

The RBI headquarters in Mumbai is a high-security building with stringent entry procedures that befit the nation’s monetary authority. Any letter or paper that is delivered to the RBI has to be submitted to its ‘Dispatch Section’ on the ground floor, since nobody without a proper appointment is allowed upstairs. Such a system is not unusual in important government organisations; however, it is shocking when mail that is submitted to the Dispatch, is simply not delivered to the addressee – not even when the addressee is the deputy governor (DG) and a chief general manager (CGM). On 5th October, we sent two folders to these senior officials. The person who delivered them was made to run from one building to another; fortunately, he has a date-stamped photo-proof for his troubles (that is the kind of equipment the RBI has put in place for security). On 12th October, when we followed up on the documents, we learnt that neither the DG nor the CGM had received the folders. The assistants of both gentlemen joined an effort to trace the documents, but drew a blank. We also learnt that there is no mechanism to trace the documents. Nobody knows and no one is responsible. More importantly, this is not a new or rare occurrence. The exact same thing had happened to me six years earlier. At that time, I had disbelieved the RBI PRO who insisted that a report that I had returned, with a proper signed and stamped acknowledgement (which I have still preserved) had not reached her a couple of months after it was sent. So where do these letters disappear? How many times does this happen? Even if it is wrongly delivered (although we can’t see how an entire folder that is specifically addressed to deputy governor, KC Chakrabarty, can vanish) to another person within the RBI, why would it not be re-directed? Do my questions seem like much ado about nothing? Well, here’s what I think. If India’s banking regulator and monetary authority cannot put in place a system to receive mail, what is the chance of it being able to effectively check financial crime or fake currency?

-- Sucheta Dalal